Locals buy empty bowls

Alisa “Al” Holen couldn’t run the Empty Bowls event without the help of her volunteers.

The assistant professor of ceramics hosted Evansville’s fourth annual Empty Bowls event, which raised money for various charities Saturday from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. at Kirby’s Private Dining on Haynie’s Corner.

The event sold bowls made by university students, churches, Bosse High School students and other members of the community.

“Over 300 people from all over the community come in on Friday evenings and make bowls for about two hours,” she said. “Then my volunteers in my service learning ceramics courses trim up the bowls.”

Holen said she is a believer in handmade objects such as furniture, sculptures and pottery, but realizes not everyone can afford these items.

“Almost anybody can afford a $10 bowl,” she said. “We can put a handmade object into their life and they can enjoy using it, eating from it and to me that starts a little addiction for a lot of people and that makes me happy.”

The first year Evansville hosted Empty Bowls in 2012, the community made about 600 bowls, Holen said. This year the community made 1,164 bowls.

In addition to the amateur-made $10 bowls, this year the event also featured a Pro-Bowl Room where professional potters sold their bowls ranging from $25 to $80.

“I can only get about 1000 bowls through the department and through the kilns in time for the event,” she said, “but this way we can increase our money without having to increase all the bowls.”

Money raised will help ECHO Housing Corporation open a community food pantry, said ECHO Housing Corporation case manager Kendra Shadrick.

“Some of the services we provide are permanent, supportive housing for families that have been chronically homeless, for veterans and for single individuals,” the USI alumni said. “We also provide affordable housing and community development for Evansville.”

Other services ECHO Housing Corporation’s branch Lucas Place provides include counselling services, referrals to services such as health care, tutoring for children and a pre-school, Shadrick said.

Empty Bowls split the proceeds to United Caring Services and Patchwork  Central.

“We help those who are homeless and those who are in transition,” UCS Strategic Board Member Paul Mattingly said.

The United Caring Service offers four services: a day shelter, a men’s night shelter, a women’s night shelter and transitional housing, he said. A person may hold one of those single unit apartments for up to 24 months while transitioning back into society.

Mattingly said he’s glad to be a part of a community of people who are willing to help those in need.

“We need to reach our hands out,” he said, “to those who are less fortunate than us.”